How Benjamin Franklin Became the Father of Franchising


Benjamin Franklin was many things in his lifetime, a statesman, a scientist, an inventor, an editor, a printer, a merchant, and a founding father. Quite the resume if you ask us! But today we’re not talking about Benjamin Franklin’s role in building the United States, but his role in the world of something we’re a bit more familiar with – franchising.

What Did Benjamin Franklin Do?

To understand how Benjamin Franklin not only became the father of electricity but also the father of franchise, it’s important to note that he was a businessman – and a successful one at that. In fact, even after more than 200 years, people are still learning to manage their wealth and explore new business ventures through his various writings, books, and work left behind.

Expanding Business: The First Franchise Agreement

The Pennsylvania Gazette was bought by Franklin and Co. in 1729, and by the early 1730s, business was booming. We told you he was good. Soon thereafter, Franklin had an idea to expand his business. He would promote his workers and provide them with everything they need to start their own printing house in other colonies. In exchange, Franklin would keep one-third of the profits over six years. Sound familiar?

Did Benjamin Franklin Invent Franchising?

While early franchising is credited to great names like Albert Singer with the Singer Sewing Machine Company and Martha Matilda Harper’s revolutionary salon franchise, the earliest franchise agreement was discovered to be created by our old friend Ben Franklin for The Pennsylvania Gazette. This contract, penned in 1731 was the first go at what modern-day franchisees would call a franchise agreement.

The First Franchise Location

Referred to as a co-partnership at the time, this 16th-century contract allowed Thomas Whitmarsh to establish himself as a printer in Charleston, South Carolina, which granted him the achievement of being the earliest recorded franchisee.

When this was successful, Franklin was able to scale and grow his printing business. These contracts were so successful in fact, Franklin was able to survive on the profit alone for much of his life and was able to retire from his business by the age of 42.

Is Benjamin Franklin a Franchise?

While modern franchising is much more complex than the simple agreement made with Whitmarsh and his and the industry's first female franchisees soon thereafter, the basic idea remains the same. At Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, we’re proud to offer the same type of agreements, allowing driven, hard-working, and ambitious individuals to work for themselves, but never by themselves.

“As we enjoy great advantages from the invention of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously.” – Benjamin Franklin

The above quote is a great example of how Benjamin Franklin was not only in business for himself and his future, but instead was in debt to those around him and wanted to share his proven processes. This is one of the best parts of franchising and something we follow in everything we do.

Looking to Franchise?

Whether you own a plumbing company or are considering jumping into the world of franchising, give our team a call to learn more about our current plumbing franchise opportunities. We offer competitive franchise agreements that can help you grow and scale your business with a team that cares about mutual success every step of the way.

Ready to get started? Discover all the Benjamin Franklin Plumbing franchise has to offer to you and your community – call us at (855) 880-4024 to get started.